Fitness Activism

Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Whenever I do a powerlifting meet, or a strongman competition, or even a big lift in front of strangers, I get looks.
You know, "looks."
I'm usually one of the smaller guys involved, but I do okay.  And I like surprising people.
I also get this a lot : "You know, I could probably do that, too."  People see me do it, and think, well, if HE can, then I could.  
Here's a secret: they're right.  They COULD.  They just DON'T.  And that's how I win.

"Y'know, if I had come to that Strongman competition, I probably could have finished pretty high."  ….but you didn't.

"Man, if I worked at it, I could look better than anyone up on that stage."  …but you don't.

"The fitness industry is losing its way.  Somebody should do something." …yeah, somebody should.

"I can write better stuff than that guy.  I could get published in a heartbeat."  ….but you aren't.

If you're going to do anything in this world – the fitness world – you're going to have to be crazy.  You're going to have to be a crackpot, a target, an object of scorn, an outcast, a protestor, an advocate, a practitioner, a role model, and, finally, a visionary.  You're going to have to be an activist.

What else would you call it?  Consider what we've done in the last 3 years:
  • worked standard 70+ – hour weeks
  • spent $80,000 developing a tracking and adherence system for clients to use for FREE 
  • published hundreds of articles, dozens of videos, and done dozens of interviews 
  • volunteered time, training, and facilities for several charities 
  • spent 2 years doing research trials with no chance of reimbursement 
  • contributed to lobby groups attempting to establish a minimum requirement for Personal Trainer qualifications (currently, there IS no minimal requirement) 
  • opened a second facility to make sure our clients can do what they SHOULD be doing, instead of what's convenient for the Big Gym Corporation 
  •  showed up in support of clients at every type of event possible 
  • trained and competed and hosted events that couldn't find a venue 
  • grown while 3 other local gyms with better funding went bankrupt   

Years ago, when he was still alive, Mel Siff told me in a personal email, "If you're going to wave a flag, people are going to shoot at you."  He was right.  

It would be far easier, believe me, to bury our heads; to stick to the main road; to embrace fads and attend sales seminars and cash cheques.  It would be easier to give our clients the same program we picked from Men's Health last month.  It would be easier to quit putting ourselves out there, to quit competing at different sports for fear of public failure, to stop writing and never get another misspelled, poorly-written, anonymous, nasty email from other 'personal trainers.'  

If this were easy, everyone would do it.  They don't.